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Russian player changes nationality to dodge Wimbledon ban: Reports

The athlete is the 29-year-old doubles player Natela Dzalamidze, who is ranked No 44 in the world and will compete in the women's doubles.

Abhishek Sandikar Author

Updated - 21 June 2022 3:24 pm

Natela Dzalamidze

A Russian tennis player has bypassed the Wimbledon ban on all competitors from Russia and Belarus by changing her nationality to Georgian, as per reports. The athlete is the 29-year-old doubles player Natela Dzalamidze. She is ranked No 44 in the world and will compete in the women’s doubles with Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic when the tournament starts on 27 June.

In the reports, an All England Club spokesman talked about that they were powerless to inhibit Dzalamidze’s change of nationality, as the matter has been approved by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Wimbledon organisers had released a statement in April announcing the players from Russia and Belarus would be banned from this year’s tournament because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   Wimbledon put forth two reasons why the tournament implemented the ban. 

The first reason was player safety as athletes are required to submit individual letters denouncing the Russian government to participate by UK law which could affect the safety of the player and the tournament. While the second reason was the idea of not promoting Russian propaganda by having players from that country succeed in the tournament.

“We appreciate that opinions differ in relation to our decision to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships this year, and we deeply regret the impact of this decision on the individuals affected,” Wimbledon’s press release said. 

“However, given the position taken by the UK Government to limit Russia’s global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made.”

“We, therefore, wish to state our deep disappointment at the decisions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in removing ranking points for The Championships,” the press release continued. “We believe these decisions to be disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we found ourselves in and damaging to all players who compete on Tour.”

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